10/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Responding to the GOP Convention

You have to hand it to the Republican Party for the theatrics and distractions we've seen this week in Minnesota. Try as they might to pretend that they bear no responsibility for the state of George W. Bush's America, there aren't enough smoke and mirrors and fear tactics to disguise the facts. Millions of lost jobs, the highest unemployment rate in five years, 46 million Americans living without health care, millions more facing foreclosure and the loss of their homes, $4 per gallon gas, an $800 billion dollar annual trade deficit, and $700 billion that flows each year out of our wallets to pay for foreign oil. America's working families know the real deal, and they want change.

Last night John McCain took a page from the Obama script and pledged he would bring change to Washington. But you can't cover up the fact that John McCain rode shotgun with the president as he drove us into the ditch, voting with Bush 90% of the time. That is not a maverick, that is a copy cat.

Last week we heard the Dems talk a lot about hope, about change, and about possibility. This week we got a very clear, and familiar refrain from the Republicans. Be afraid, be very very afraid. Same fear mongering, newer flag. We heard the visionary chants of Drill Baby Drill, during a speech by Sarah Palin, who may well be the only person left in America who does not admit that global warming is in fact caused by human behavior. McCain says he is for developing alternative energy sources, but that is hardly straight talk from a Senator who has missed virtually every key vote on funding for those sources in the last several years. But let's not confuse the issue with the facts, please!

No, instead, let's take a hit at the community organizers of the world. Yes Sarah Palin, they are the real problem and must be singled out. Those crazy idealists who think you can actually improve the world if you get people together, my gosh even poor people, or god forbid, poor people, workers, and the clergy, to try to claim their rights and hold government accountable! In the real America where Republican cuts to social services have left many without any safety net, it is community organizers who rally parents to fix their schools, and families to reclaim their neighborhoods.

Enough is enough. Service, be it military, or community based, is something we should all be celebrating in our neighbors and our leaders. Like patriotism, it isn't owned by one political party, it is a valued and treasured ideal. Sarah Palin's broad brush dismissal of Obama's experience gained working as an organizer is just further evidence of how out of touch she and McCain are when it comes to the needs and experiences of working families and the institutions they create on their jobs and in their neighborhoods.

Now that the bizarro world has pulled out of St. Paul, let's take a deep breath, face our real challenges, and return to the facts. In the face of globalization and corporate influence run amok, community organizers and Unions give working Americans their greatest shot at our most treasured goal, living the American dream. Union workers make 25% more in wages, are 59% more likely to have health care benefits, and are over four times more likely to have a secure retirement package at work than non-union workers. They provide an essential, and yes, democratic, balance in their worksites and in many corporate boardrooms.

Time and again polls show that workers want to and would join a union if they didn't have to risk their livelihood to do so. They know from hard experience that workers in organizing campaigns get fired for being pro-union every 23 minutes in this country, and that government's current National Labor Relations Board takes years to settle most cases of unjust firings. The government also serves the bidding of multinational corporations who use trade deals to give your job away and then pay you an unfair wage for work that is about to be outsourced overseas anyway. Just ask John McCain, because he's never seen a trade deal that he didn't vote for. While he is voting to pass tax cuts for employers who send our jobs overseas, we'll keep on building our movement in the streets and at the worksites.

Workers in America are not greedy, they just want a level playing field and the chance to leave their kids a better life than they've had. That is why Change to Win is fighting so hard to elect Barack Obama, to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, to create universal health care for all, to stand for a new trade agenda in America that focuses on good jobs here at home, and to address climate change by advocating for rebuilding our economy around good, green, union jobs that grow the middle class and help save our planet for our children to enjoy.

Change to Win knows that the most credible voices that must be heard are those of the workers who make this nation run, three shifts a day, seven days a week. That's why we created the McCain Truth Squad, a group of nine workers traveling through nine states to spread the truth about the real consequences of a McCain presidency. These workers are starting the second leg of their tour in St. Paul this week to separate the facts from the fiction presented at the GOP convention, and talk about John McCain's Bush inspired voting record and what it means for workers.

And we are having fun too, with Real McCain of Genius, an online video series that highlights McCain's controversial housing comments and policies through parody.

That's why we launched, a hub for videos of workers across the country to tell their stories of what life has been like over the last seven years and to ask John McCain questions about his record and agenda.

All of these programs represent a different approach for Change to Win and for the labor movement. We're giving working families the clear facts that will cut through the noise of this convention and all its political theatrics. Check out our site, join our events, walk some precincts with us, and let's dig in together to help our working families get a real shot at the American Dream.

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